Chelsea started very well, showing great intention and effort, and created multiple excellent openings in the first 10-15 minutes, but without taking full advantage of them. Brighton had no answers to Lukaku, with Hudson-Odoi and Mount and Pulisic running through at will.
Chelsea also threatened repeatedly on set pieces, especially corner, with Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sánchez looking quite shaky on them. In fact, from one of his misplays, Chelsea hit the post, with Brighton surviving through a lucky deflection off a defender’s foot after César Azpilicueta had picked up the loose ball amid a scramble to turn and shoot.
At the other end, Brighton’s threat came mostly through Lamptey on the right, though he was corralled well enough by James, who was switched to that flank precisely to combat the threat. Unfortunately, James would get injured (probably due to a heavy kick from Lamptey on his ankle) halfway through the opening period, with Alonso coming on to replace him.
While that substitution changed the flow of the game, we did manage to open the scoring right after it, with Lukaku nodding in a corner. The rest of the half played out with Brighton mostly in control, though with Chelsea able to keep them at bay as far as the scoreboard was concerned.
The second half began the same way the first ended, but while Chelsea defended heroically against the mounting pressure from the visitors, we also saw a clear kick on Pulisic in the area ignored by the referee and VAR, and then watched Callum Hudson-Odoi make a tremendous mess of a 2-v-1.
Kanté’s introduction halfway through the second half appeared to settle Chelsea, and we created multiple good openings during a 10-minute spell of pressure but without, again, taking advantage.
The final 10 minutes were more edge-of-the-seat ... “entertainment” ... with Chelsea wasting more good openings while hanging on to dear life at the other. And then, just when it looked like we might survive, because that’s how things go these days, Welbeck scored in the first minute of added-on time.
Two more points dropped.
- Several changes from the weekend, most notably with Pulisic dropping to right wing-back and James switching to the left. Lukaku also gets his first Premier League start since mid-October.
- Injuries to James and Christensen the latest concerns. Alonso and Chalobah on as like-for-like replacements.
- Kanté on for the final 25 minutes: Chelsea going to a 3-5-2 with Mount and Lukaku up top
- City currently winning. If they win, we will be 8 points behind.
- Next up: huge showdown against Liverpool on Sunday